Protégé Short Course


Most of our course is hands-on. During the hands-on portion of the course, participants will learn how to navigate the latest version of the Protégé and WebProtégé toolsets, which support the full OWL 2 standard. Protégé is the most popular and widely used ontology editor in the world with a vibrant community of over 300,000 registered users.

The course is taught by members of the Protégé team. Enrollment is limited to ensure optimal learning experiences.

Target audience members include everyone who wishes to develop or enhance their skills for building OWL ontologies using Protégé. The course can benefit both beginners with no prior experience of the Protégé toolset and/or ontology development and intermediate users of Protege Desktop or WebProtege. In order to provide a successful learning experience, we expect that the participants are proficient with common computer usage tasks (e.g., downloading files, installing applications, copy-and-paste, using a text editor, using a Web browser, etc.).


  • Steps in the ontology development process
  • Semantic Web technologies, e.g., OWL, RDF, and SPARQL
  • OWL 2 language, reasoning, and querying
  • Collaborative ontology development
  • Import from spreadsheets and other data sources

  • Introduction to Ontologies and Ontology Engineering
    • Knowledge Representation on the Web: Motivation and examples
    • Definitions of ontology
    • Rationale for ontologies
      • Why build ontologies
      • Example applications and usage of ontologies
    • Basic components of an ontology
    • Introduction to course running example
    • Knowledge Engineering Techniques
      • Defining domain and scope of ontology
      • Competency Questions
      • Card Sorting
      • Identifying domain terms
    • Ontology modeling approaches
      • Generic and application ontologies
      • Ontology design patterns
    • Testing ontologies
      • Competency questions as tests
      • Validation strategies
  • Introduction to Protégé
    • The Protégé User-interface
      • Tabs
      • Views
      • Lists and sections
  • Introduction to OWL
    • Where OWL fits into the Knowledge Representation landscape
    • Basic OWL Terminology Overview: Classes, Object Properties, Data Properties, Annotation Properties, Individuals, Datatypes, Literals, Complex Class Expressions, Axioms
    • Entailment, Inference and Automated Reasoning
    • OWL Profiles (OWL2EL, OWL2QL and OWL2RL)
    • The Resource Description Framework (RDF)
    • OWL Syntaxes and the relationship to RDF
  • Hands on OWL – Understanding OWL Syntax and Semantic and how to edit OWL ontologies in Protégé
    • Entities
    • Entity naming strategies
    • Classes
      • Class declarations
      • owl:Thing
      • owl:Nothing
    • SubClassOf axioms
    • Class hierarchies and terminology
    • Entailment and Reasoning
    • Automated computation of class hierarchies
    • Annotation assertions for metadata
      • Literals and language tags for multi-lingual data
      • Referencing external information
      • Working with well-known vocabularies e.g. SKOS and
    • Representing relationships at the class level
      • Object properties
        • owl:topObjectProperty
        • owl:bottomObjectProperty
        • owl:topDataProperty
        • owl:bottomDataProperty
      • SomeValuesFrom (Existential restrictions)
      • Property hierarchies
      • HasValueFrom
    • Combining complex class expressions and modeling choices
      • IntersectionOf (And)
      • UnionOf (Or)
      • OneOf (Enumerations)
    • Class Definitions
      • EquivalentClasses axioms
      • Primitive and Defined classes
    • Negation in OWL
      • ComplementOf (Not)
      • Disjoint classes axioms
    • Representing relationships at the instance level
      • Individuals
      • Individual vs Classes
      • PropertyAssertion axioms
      • Property chains
      • Domain and Range axioms
    • Understanding The Open World Assumption (OWA)
  • Collaborative Ontology Engineering
    • Example case studies
    • Workflows and tools
    • Introduction to WebProtégé
    • Hands on practice with group modeling exercises in WebProtégé
    • Introduction to SPARQL
      • RDF and SPARQL
      • Key Elements of SPARQL Syntax
        • Prefixes and IRIs
        • Variables
        • Basic Graph Patterns
      • Relationship between OWL and SPARQL
    • SPARQL Querying Hands On
      • Prefixes
      • Select query form
      • Graph Patterns and Abbreviations
      • Mixed logical and non-logical queries
      • Ordering
      • Filtering
      • Built-in Functions
      • Bind and Select As
      • Aggregate Queries


  • Learn best practices in ontology modeling
  • Learn to avoid common ontology development pitfalls
  • Hands-on use of the Protégé toolset
  • Direct interaction with the Protégé team

Questions about the course?

If you have any questions about the course content please contact us.

Course Preparation

The Protégé Short Course is a hands-on course. This section contains detailed instructions for installing the required software components that will be used during the course.

We highly recommend that you install the required software on your laptops before the start of the course in order to avoid holding up sessions for software installation issues.

Please note that we do not provide laptops or computers for participants

Recommended material

We encourage participants to consult the following introductory materials before the course:

Required Software

The only required software for the hands-on part is Protégé. The detailed, step-by-step installation instructions for different platforms are available here. If you are using macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or a newer version, please note the additional one-time step needed to run Protégé.

We will use Protégé {{info.protege.version}} for the course. Please make sure that you have this version installed on your laptops prior to the course.

You may download and install Protégé from the main Protégé website.

During the course, we will install additional Protégé plugins. We will also use WebProtégé, which requires a Web browser, preferably Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

We also encourage the participants to download Protégé prior to the course, and open and browse a couple of ontologies to get familiar with the user interface.

Questions or problems with the installation?

If you have any questions or problems installing Protégé prior to the course, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often is the Protégé Short Course held?

    Typically twice a year: in the Fall and Spring breaks at Stanford University. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we do not expect to be able to host a course on-campus until the Summer of 2021 (at the earliest).

  • Is there an online or MOOC version of the course?


  • Can you teach the course remotely for a group of people at our institution/company?

    Yes, we can consider this on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further details.

  • Is it possible to obtain or purchase course materials without attending the course?


  • Can you teach the course on-site at our institution/company?

    Typically yes. We have done this frequently in the past. However, due to the pandemic and Stanford directives we are unable to travel at the moment.

  • How can I know when the next Protégé Short Course will be held?

    We announce upcoming courses in the protege-announce mailing list, Twitter, and Facebook.

Contact Us

Have any questions about the course or about registration?

Please contact us.